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The Village Pub, Barnsley

PUBLISHED: 18:04 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:32 20 February 2013

The Village Pub

The Village Pub

The Falcon Inn has flown, so does an impromptu visit to The Village Pub in Barnsley manage to salvage a disastrous start to the evening for Katie Jarvis

Food-related disasters I have had first-hand experience of recently:




  1. Eating a particularly satisfying early supper, relaxing in front of 'Honey We're Killing the Kids', interrupted only by a cheery voice on the phone saying, 'Just checking you haven't forgotten our dinner tonight'. As if...

  2. Serving a steak and kidney pie for dessert during a freezer labelling crisis

  3. Turning up on a Monday for dinner at The Falcon Inn in Poulton



Admittedly, I get the answer phone when I attempt to book a table at The Falcon. Yet the website strongly indicates they're open; as does the sign when we get there. But the place has such an air of desertion, it feels as if we should break in - as an act of humanity - to check the bar staff aren't gagged and tied up in a back room.


At 7.05 pm, Ian bangs noisily on the door, while I dance round in embarrassment, squeaking, "Oooh, I'm not sure you should do that." But no one comes - so extensively so that I half expect the door to swing open to reveal six inches of dust and a skeleton barman in the act of pouring from a bottle of rum marked "1794".


"Let's go to The Village Pub," Ian says, stomping off back to our lonesome car. As he "definitely" knows the way across country, we embark on an obscure route that involves some doubling back and lots of grim-faced determination. I say nothing. When The Village Pub finally looms in front of us, it feels more like an act of compassion than a geographical reality.


There's always a nice atmosphere here. Even when we plonk ourselves down at the best window seats, honestly failing to notice the 'Reserved' sign, the waitress merely whips it away and puts it on an obviously inferior table, without any kind of finger-wagging at all. (As a result, when two couples enter who've booked, it's hard to know whether to look incredibly guilty, or to snigger.)


The menu changes daily, which mostly feels like a triumph of fresh, seasonal food - but occasionally seems like a whim on the part of the chef. These are the days when the small, but usually impeccable, choice offers little that isn't obscure. Tonight, if you're not feeling 'fishy', you're a bit stuffed (though not, as it turns out, literally).


I order cream of butternut squash soup at 4.50 followed by a mushroom and leek tart, watercress salad and poached egg (10.50). The soup is a deep disappointment - watery and bland, to say the least. (I notice the couple at the next table have to put in a joint effort to finish theirs.) I realise, when I try the watercress part of my main course, that the reason why the soup is flavourless is that the condiments were all used up on my salad. Perhaps someone in the kitchen tripped. I'd recommend the resultant dressing as an effective and instant cure for blocked sinuses. In fact, I have, at several points, to check my nose is still there.


Ian's choice of marinated sea trout, red peppers and aubergine puree (7.50), followed by pan-roasted lamb kidneys, parsnip puree and carrots (13) is more successful; but, for the price, there's not a huge amount of it. I know that's a Philistine thing to say in this day and age; but you don't expect to pay over 70 for a meal for two (with drinks) and still feel a bit peckish afterwards.


The sad thing is, I've eaten several times at The Village Pub, and normally the food is fantastic; I've known my own editor - not an emotional man under normal circumstances - weep with joy over the skate wings. The produce is always excellently and locally sourced, including vegetables from their own garden over the road. I'm not sure whether or not this is admissible evidence, but it does seem a shame that tonight it just doesn't cut the mustard.


The atmosphere, on the other hand, is great. One table is having such a good time, it feels like a snub not to be on it. The couple-who-should-have-had-our-table-but-didn't have had to move from theirs because there isn't enough leg room; but even so, they do it with a smile. (Guilt/snigger.)


Desserts are a blood orange mousse with sable biscuit (6 - nothing to write home about), and a warm rice pudding with homemade jam (6, very good indeed).


While waiting for coffee (the service, by the way, is quick and efficient), we notice our ill-gotten table doubles as a games board. As a result, we have several nail-bitingly exciting games of fox and goose at which I win every time, bar the last when I pass a few tactics on to Ian. I mention this not so much out of interest as ego.


As I finally pay, the nice chap at the bar says, "Did you enjoy your meal?" Being English, I make non-committal it-was-very-pleasant noises rather than saying, "Actually, the soup was so runny I've had thicker glasses of water, and the watercress salad so powerful, it nearly blew both my ears off."


But that's both a surprise and a disappointment - because I don't think it's representative of normal standards. I'm prepared to go again in the interests of justice.




Ambience 7/10


Service 7/10


Food 6/10


Value for money 6/10



The Village Pub is at Barnsley near Cirencester, 01285 740421, www.thevillagepub.co.uk


Food-related disasters I have had first-hand experience of recently:




  1. Eating a particularly satisfying early supper, relaxing in front of 'Honey We're Killing the Kids', interrupted only by a cheery voice on the phone saying, 'Just checking you haven't forgotten our dinner tonight'. As if...

  2. Serving a steak and kidney pie for dessert during a freezer labelling crisis

  3. Turning up on a Monday for dinner at The Falcon Inn in Poulton



Admittedly, I get the answer phone when I attempt to book a table at The Falcon. Yet the website strongly indicates they're open; as does the sign when we get there. But the place has such an air of desertion, it feels as if we should break in - as an act of humanity - to check the bar staff aren't gagged and tied up in a back room.


At 7.05 pm, Ian bangs noisily on the door, while I dance round in embarrassment, squeaking, "Oooh, I'm not sure you should do that." But no one comes - so extensively so that I half expect the door to swing open to reveal six inches of dust and a skeleton barman in the act of pouring from a bottle of rum marked "1794".


"Let's go to The Village Pub," Ian says, stomping off back to our lonesome car. As he "definitely" knows the way across country, we embark on an obscure route that involves some doubling back and lots of grim-faced determination. I say nothing. When The Village Pub finally looms in front of us, it feels more like an act of compassion than a geographical reality.


There's always a nice atmosphere here. Even when we plonk ourselves down at the best window seats, honestly failing to notice the 'Reserved' sign, the waitress merely whips it away and puts it on an obviously inferior table, without any kind of finger-wagging at all. (As a result, when two couples enter who've booked, it's hard to know whether to look incredibly guilty, or to snigger.)


The menu changes daily, which mostly feels like a triumph of fresh, seasonal food - but occasionally seems like a whim on the part of the chef. These are the days when the small, but usually impeccable, choice offers little that isn't obscure. Tonight, if you're not feeling 'fishy', you're a bit stuffed (though not, as it turns out, literally).


I order cream of butternut squash soup at 4.50 followed by a mushroom and leek tart, watercress salad and poached egg (10.50). The soup is a deep disappointment - watery and bland, to say the least. (I notice the couple at the next table have to put in a joint effort to finish theirs.) I realise, when I try the watercress part of my main course, that the reason why the soup is flavourless is that the condiments were all used up on my salad. Perhaps someone in the kitchen tripped. I'd recommend the resultant dressing as an effective and instant cure for blocked sinuses. In fact, I have, at several points, to check my nose is still there.


Ian's choice of marinated sea trout, red peppers and aubergine puree (7.50), followed by pan-roasted lamb kidneys, parsnip puree and carrots (13) is more successful; but, for the price, there's not a huge amount of it. I know that's a Philistine thing to say in this day and age; but you don't expect to pay over 70 for a meal for two (with drinks) and still feel a bit peckish afterwards.


The sad thing is, I've eaten several times at The Village Pub, and normally the food is fantastic; I've known my own editor - not an emotional man under normal circumstances - weep with joy over the skate wings. The produce is always excellently and locally sourced, including vegetables from their own garden over the road. I'm not sure whether or not this is admissible evidence, but it does seem a shame that tonight it just doesn't cut the mustard.


The atmosphere, on the other hand, is great. One table is having such a good time, it feels like a snub not to be on it. The couple-who-should-have-had-our-table-but-didn't have had to move from theirs because there isn't enough leg room; but even so, they do it with a smile. (Guilt/snigger.)


Desserts are a blood orange mousse with sable biscuit (6 - nothing to write home about), and a warm rice pudding with homemade jam (6, very good indeed).


While waiting for coffee (the service, by the way, is quick and efficient), we notice our ill-gotten table doubles as a games board. As a result, we have several nail-bitingly exciting games of fox and goose at which I win every time, bar the last when I pass a few tactics on to Ian. I mention this not so much out of interest as ego.


As I finally pay, the nice chap at the bar says, "Did you enjoy your meal?" Being English, I make non-committal it-was-very-pleasant noises rather than saying, "Actually, the soup was so runny I've had thicker glasses of water, and the watercress salad so powerful, it nearly blew both my ears off."


But that's both a surprise and a disappointment - because I don't think it's representative of normal standards. I'm prepared to go again in the interests of justice.




Ambience 7/10


Service 7/10


Food 6/10


Value for money 6/10



The Village Pub is at Barnsley near Cirencester, 01285 740421, www.thevillagepub.co.uk


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